In this crazy image, all the horizontal lines are actually straight – if there is such a thing as straight! Perception messes with our heads in so many way.
Perception is one of my favourite words. It embodies so much of what we all so often believe to be ‘the truth’. This makes perception an indispensable instrument in my armoury as a novel writer, not only because it allows diversity in the point of view of characters within the story, but because, in the writing, it allows the writer to play with the reader’s interpretation of events as they unfold – does the reader believe character ‘A’ is right, or character ‘B’, or does the reader believe ‘the truth’ lies beyond the perception of both these characters.
The desire for mystery-solving is nectar to the pallet of any reader that’s fascinated by books offering intrigue and suspense, testing their powers of deduction as they tussle for the one right answer – to behold – the truth.
For my part, I enjoy puzzles, be that a knotted necklace chain, a 20-piece wooden block, two twisted nails seemingly tangles never to be parted or the six-piece puzzle ring I wear on my finger that took me four days to solve the first time it fell apart – and the second time and the third time too!
I ‘get’ that puzzle ring now and usually bring it back together in about fifteen minutes – but it’s not the ‘getting there’ that matters to me as much as it is the journey of discovery.
Even when I fail at any puzzle and have to resort to being shown the answer, I can still smile, recalling the exercise I gave my brain along the way, and being sure that next time, I’ll be the wiser and the faster at getting to that elusive truth.
Much of that is true of a good mystery novel too. It shouldn’t matter if the revealed truth had out-foxed you to the end, what mattered was the journey, the brain teasers and the piece of mind in a satisfying conclusion. my one caveat: There is a huge difference between mystified and confused – it does not bode well to confuse a reader, they’re most likely to give up and move on, befuddled. (Love that word!)
Of my novel, ‘White Ashes’ Amazon reviewer, ‘Joanie’ wrote:
“The author’s timing and flow of the story was perfect and I liked the way he placed all the parts of the story together like one of those sliding tile puzzles … with each mini puzzle that I was able to read and say ‘aha!’ I was waiting eagerly for the next, and then the next, and in the end I was satisfied.”
Thank you, Joanie, your ‘White Ashes’ journey was all I would have wished for.